Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk Says He Doesn't Know How to Stop Lionel Messi

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2019

(L-R) Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool FC, Eder Militao of FC Porto during the UEFA Champions League quarter final match between FC Porto and Liverpool FC at Estadio do Dragao on April 17, 2019 in Porto, Portugal(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk has said he does not know how Liverpool will stop Barcelona's Lionel Messi when the two sides meet in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Messi put on a clinic as Barca thrashed Manchester United 3-0 at the Camp Nou on Tuesday to advance to the last four for the first time since 2015:

Liverpool joined them in the next round after making easy work of Porto:

Following the Reds' 4-1 win at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday, Van Dijk was surprisingly honest when asked how he will stop Messi by Norwegian outlet Viasport (h/t Chris Burton of Goal):

"I don't know, we'll see. It's going to be a great matchup for all of us. Obviously we're very happy to be in the semi-final again, and that's the only thing I can say. It's about doing it all together, it's never one versus one, it's never just me against a particular striker. It's always us against everyone, and I think that's the only way we can defend well. It's going to be very hard, and I think he's the best player in the world, but we'll see."

Van Dijk, 27, has made a huge impact since moving to Liverpool from Southampton for £75 million in January 2018.

The Reds have long had impressive attacking players, but their leaky defence prevented them from becoming genuine title challengers.

With Van Dijk in the side in 2018-19, Liverpool have conceded just 20 goals in 34 Premier League matches and are in with a chance of winning a first title in 29 years:

In all competitions, they have conceded more than one goal in a match just once in their past 15 games.

It will be difficult to continue that trend when they take on Barca at the Camp Nou in the first leg of their semi-final on May 1.

Messi's record at home against English clubs is impressive:

However, if Liverpool restrict the hosts to just a single goal in Catalonia and get an away goal, they will be in a strong position to make a second successive Champions League final.

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